The Future of Liberalism: Relativism Confronts St. Augustine

Apr 19, 2018
Harper Memorial Library 130
1116 East 59th Street
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Stephen Fields, SJGeorgetown University

  • The Future of Liberalism: Relativism Confronts St. Augustine
  • Fr. Stephen Fields, SJ - Interview

Free and open to the public. Cosponsored by the Theology Club at the Divinity School.

The future of political liberalism is a topic much discussed in recent scholarly books and popular journals. This lecture will integrate the recent argument of Patrick Deneen in Why Liberalism Failed, beginning where the book leaves off by addressing the following question: If it is true, as many have argued, that liberalism has become morally corroded, then can reasonable people still make a case for our continued cooperation with it? Discussing thinkers like Richard Rorty and John Rawls, this lecture will critically examine efforts to ground contemporary liberalism in relativist views of goodness and truth. These views will be brought into dialogue with St Augustine's reflections on Rome. It will thereby develop a perspective on how Catholics should coexist with liberalism, which retains value as a political framework.

Professor Fields also led a master class seminar on "Karl Rahner's Distinctive Theology of the Symbol" on Saturday, April 21.

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Stephen Fields, SJ is a Jesuit Priest and scholar with degrees from Oxford and Yale, he has written Being As Symbol: On the Origins and Development of Karl Rahner’s Metaphysics (2001) and Analogies of Transcendence: An Essay on Nature, Grace and Modernity (2016).  Recently he edited a volume of essays on the thought of Benedict XVI (Nova et Vetera, August 2017).  His scholarly articles treat such topics as Hans Urs von Balthasar, John Henry Newman, transcendental Thomism, and the Trinity, as well as Catholicism’s relation to liberalism, to ‘postmodernism,’ and to the contemporary university. He has been a long-time friend and collaborator of the Lumen Christi Institute.